The latest World Bank report to the Ad Hoc Liaison committee (AHLC), a policy-level meeting for “development assistance to the Palestinian people,” to be presented on Thursday at their bi-annual meeting in New York, determines that “the economy in Gaza is collapsing, suffering from a decade long blockade and a recent drying up of liquidity, with aid flows no longer enough to stimulate growth according to a new World Bank report. The result is an alarming situation with every second person living in poverty and the unemployment rate for its overwhelmingly young population at over 70 percent.”
In a Tuesday press release, Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza, said that “A combination of war, isolation, and internal division has left Gaza in a crippling economic state and exacerbated the human distress. A situation where people struggle to make ends meet, suffer from worsening poverty, rising unemployment and deteriorating public services such as health care, water and sanitation, calls for urgent, real and sustainable solutions.”
Not surprisingly, the report assigns no responsibility for the situation to Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip for a decade, encouraging an endless string of confrontations with Israel and Egypt, which have led to a deepening isolation of Gaza and its people. The Palestinian Authority is mentioned as a major culprit, for its decision to “reduce the monthly payments by $30 million to the area.”; the Government of Israel should “support a conducive environment for economic growth by lifting restrictions on trade and allowing the movement of goods and people, without which the economic situation in Gaza will never improve.”; and the US cuts to the tune of $50 to $60 million per year in aid program, combined with the cuts to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency program.
But not a word about Hamas, possibly because the authors take it for granted that Hamas is the chief culprit in the demise of Gaza’s economy, so there’s no need to mention it.
The only possible reference to Hamas and its disastrous management of the Strip is expressed toward the conclusion of the press release: “Legitimate institutions to govern Gaza in a transparent and efficient manner and reforms to create a positive business environment are also necessary for sustained economic recovery.”
There’s one other reference to Hamas in the following quote from Wes: “The economic and social situation in Gaza has been declining for over a decade but has deteriorated exponentially in recent months and has reached a critical point. Increased frustration is feeding into the increased tensions which have already started spilling over into unrest and setting back the human development of the region’s large youth population.”
This might indicate a possible reference to Hamas’ involvement in driving their economy down to the pits of darkness over the past few months, but who knows, maybe it’s global warming.